Armin Strom Gravity Date Water
Farewell my summer love
The Armin Strom Gravity Date Water is an automatic watch, featuring a Manufacture movement, openworked dial and imbued with a high quotient of hand craftsmanship. Angus Davies enjoyed a week long romance with this fascinating watch whilst touring its country of origin, Switzerland.
Many moons ago, when I was an adolescent boy, the annual family vacation was always enriched with a ‘holiday romance’.
The warm kiss of the summer sun on my face, the relaxing touch of the sea’s calming embrace and the fragrant notes of an unfamiliar exotic meal all made overseas travel a treat to savour. However, nothing compared to the innocent friendship conferred with a youthful romance. Over the years there were only a few platonic dalliances, often with German girls. Romantic moments ranged from a hand in hand walk to the ice-cream parlour to a snatched kiss between two pimply teenagers.
A few weeks ago, I travelled to Switzerland and for a few days I embarked on another summer romance. However, on this occasion, the focal point of my temporary lust was a loan watch, provided by Armin Strom. My plan was simple. I would wear the watch for seven days, become familiar with each nuance of the timepiece in question and then reveal all in a ‘kiss and tell’ account.
The lovely lady from Armin Strom’s PR Department played matchmaker and put me in touch with my date, the aptly named ‘Gravity Date’, in this instance in ‘Water’ specification. I left the company’s Manufacture in Biel / Bienne with my new found love affixed to my left arm and headed off to Bern, Switzerland’s capital.
I must confess that prior to my liaison with the Gravity Date Water, I had already been intimately acquainted with its older sister, the Gravity Water. Where the face of the Gravity Date Water differs from its older sibling is with the addition of two extra functions; a date display and a day/night indicator. Both of these latter functions, together with a small seconds display, are presented on one, large subdial at 9 o’clock.
By combining the date, day/night indicator and small seconds on one subdial, I did wonder how easily I would be able to discern each distinct function. Thankfully, after wearing the watch for a few days, I found each parcel of data proved simple to interpret. Moreover, the semi-circular black and white areas of the day / night indicator proved highly intuitive to use.
The hour and minute hands subscribe to the house style, lined with white fill and sporting pronounced dart-like tips. The asymmetric dial ring is adorned with hour markings at 3, 6 and 12 o’clock while most other hourly positions are supplanted with minute markings positioned at 5-minute intervals. Adjacent 3 o’clock, a cartouche proclaims the maison’s nomenclature.
Presented centre stage is a vista of open-worked loveliness. I always adore the approach taken by Armin Strom. The design language of this watch indulges the whims of the mechanically curious observer, revealing the micro-rotor and barrel, snailed wheels, perlage and an enchanting enclave of circular Côtes de Genève motif. However, despite a bevy of beautiful details, nothing impairs the lucid proclamation of time.
The 43.40mm stainless steel case is tastefully composed of both polished and satin brushed surfaces. My press loan was free of any superficial blemishes. However, based on my experience of owning an identically encased Gravity Water, I do know that the highly polished bezel is susceptible to light surface scratches with prolonged use. Personally, I am not unduly concerned with the odd minor blemish and believe it adds to the character of an individual’s watch. Nevertheless, if an undefiled appearance is of absolute importance to you, then the PVD or the titanium case options may suit your needs better.
I adore the idiosyncratic ‘lip’ beneath 6 o’clock. It offers possibilities for personalisation, with some owners choosing to have the lip engraved with their initials. However, its appeal to me relates to the visual juxtaposition of its straight sides set against the circular form of the bezel.
The blue rubber strap affixed to the Gravity Date Water, together with the case shape and scale of the watch, all collaborate to deliver supreme levels of wearer comfort. Indeed, wearing this watch felt like the horological equivalent of a ‘comfy pair of slippers’ and never felt anything less than agreeably snug.
The Gravity Date Water contains the Calibre ADD14 self-winding movement. The large sapphire crystal gracing the dorsal plane of the watch grants a magnificent view of the sublime movement within.
Armin Strom is a Manufacture par excellence. Virtually every component within the movement is produced within the confines of the company’s atelier in Biel / Bienne. While this is not the largest production facility I have ever seen, it is certainly one of the most technically capable. Moreover, despite the Manufacture being equipped with an array of cutting edge machinery, the company also employs several talented artisans, who deftly use traditional hand techniques to craft gorgeous decorations to movement components.
Near the ratchet wheel is a splendiferous hand engraved water scene, congruent with the ‘Water’ nomen. The ‘Air’, ‘Fire’ and ‘Earth’ versions of the Gravity Date feature alternative engravings specific to the chosen ‘element’.
The screwed balance features a Breguet Overcoil, reaffirming the no-compromise specification of this watch. The balance bridge is presented in arcing form and adorned with perlage. The generous space surrounding the balance accords eye-catching views of circular-grained mainplate and circular-grained wheels. The upper bridge is adorned with becoming circular Côtes de Genève motif, incorporating notably broad, curving stripes. Adjacent the aforementioned engraving, beautiful bevelled edges gleam intensely. The exalted creation of this movement is manifest wherever you choose to look.
Despite the Armin Strom Gravity Date Water being equipped with many functions, the dial does not appear cluttered and eloquently communicates each indication. Moreover, the case shape and design, together with the rubber strap fitted to my loan watch, delivers a high degree of wearer comfort.
However, ultimately it is the prepossessing appearance of the openworked dial and the matchless movement execution which elicits words of love to leave my lips. The engraved water scene on the upper bridge together with the circular graining on the balance bridge and mainplate are exquisitely presented. Moreover, each episode of excellence on this timepiece reaffirms why this independent watchmaker deserves comparison with much larger and more established practitioners of haute horlogerie.
Sadly, after seven days of company with the Gravity Date Water, I had to return it to Biel / Bienne and my short summer courtship was over, but as Alfred Lord Tennyson once said, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
- Model: Armin Strom Gravity Date Water
- Reference: ST14-DW.50
- Case: Stainless Steel; diameter 43.40 mm; height 13.00 mm; water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres); sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; day/night indicator.
- Movement: Calibre ADD14, self-winding movement; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz); 30 jewels; power reserve 5 days; 206 parts.
- Strap: Blue horn-back alligator leather strap supplied on a steel pin buckle as well as an additional blue rubber strap.
- Limited Edition: 100 pieces